Once upon a time in a land far far away lived fairytale characters including Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Jack (the famous beanstalk climber) and the Naked Emperor. The characters reside in Talesville, a quiet town in which its inhabitants go about their daily chores with a spring in their step and a smile on their face. However, this is by no means representative of the remainder of the game.
Fairytale Fights combines the fairytales we all know and love with cartoon violence in a hack and slash platform adventure title. Parading through seemingly relaxing and comforting environments are menacing, alter egos to the innocent, loveable fairytale characters we have pictured in our minds from a young age. Regrettably, whilst it may sound like an interesting concept, it hasn’t been executed to a particularly good standard. Despite the fact that there are so many contributing factors to this, the main downfall is the lack of a solid storyline.
The storyline in Fairytale Fights, better known as Quest Mode, sees the protagonist (dependant on your choosing from those listed earlier), chase after a stolen kettle belonging to the Three Bears. Players slash and punch their way through waves of commonly recognised ‘baddies’ including lumberjacks, wolves and even gingerbread men. Defeating these enemies is a simple task thanks to the weapons on offer.
One of the positives to arise from Fairytale Fights is the incredible amount of weapons players can use within the game, with over 150 weapons on offer. Ranging from wacky blunt weapons such as carrots and trash cans to the more violent weapons such as pitchforks and even wands, each weapon sports a rating out of five stars which represents the amount of damage the weapon can create. Whilst the difference in damage caused isn’t major between one weapon to the next, it is noticeable and higher-rated weapons are generally the cause of the gallons amongst gallons of blood players will spill left, right and centre.
To match the game’s cartoon violence imagery is masses of blood, pouring out of enemies once killed and whereas the bodies of the deceased vanish almost instantly, blood remains for a longer period of time. A unique, yet rather unnecessary, feature of Fairytale Fights allows players to slide on the blood, racking up the meter on the Glory bar. Once activated, the Glory bar activates Real-Life Dynamic Slicing, a ten-second period in which the enemies are frozen and players can slice and dice them without being attacked. The results are particularly impressive and result in a larger amount of riches.
Once an enemy has been killed, gems and rubies are dropped on the floor where they can then be collected. The idea itself, whilst it has been seen numerous times before, could have worked if a shop-like feature had been implemented into the title. Exasperatingly, the only use for the riches is to spend them on upgrades to a statue situated within Talesville and even that is not notably impressive.
Disappointingly, it’s the game’s combat that is another of the game’s problems. Bizarrely controlled using the right thumbstick, the simple task of moving the thumbstick into the direction of the enemy becomes a sheer frustration due to the lack of control. On many occasions, players will find their character unwillingly falling off edges. This isn’t helped by the game’s camera which, at times, is too far away from the action for comfort – especially during instances which require the player’s jumps and movement to be precise. To make matters worse, whilst the only penalty for dying is losing a few of your collected riches, players will often find themselves being killed by a large wave of enemies only to find themselves respawning slap-bang in the middle of the same group. Nevertheless, it’s the game’s bosses that are most likely to cause frustrating deaths.
As players progress through the ‘storyline,’ they will encounter a range of bosses arriving in the form of more recognisable fairytale her characters such as Hansel & Gretel and The Pied Piper. Whereas many of them can be easily defeated, nearly every boss has an almost unavoidable attack sending players to an early grave on a frequent basis. Not only that, but neither of the bosses within the game are particularly memorable and, to make matters worse each boss is very time-consuming requiring many hits – even with the sharpest of weapons. In fact, each level within Fairytale Fights is pretty time-consuming, becoming tedious after a few minutes due to the constant repetition of the same enemies attacking players again and again.
Fairytale Fights allows up to four players to co-operatively locally and over Xbox Live in a Castle Crashers-style manner. Unfortunately, the co-op multiplayer doesn’t give the game the much-needed legs it needed and still remains as tedious and repetitive as the single player. Nevertheless, Fairytale Fights also offers ‘Arena Mode’ – a multiplayer mode in which players can battle to the death across a number of the game’s arenas locally and online. Alas, the game mode has its flaws. With almost no-one playing the game online and a lack of bot support, the game mode appears to be heavily reliant on local play – a feature that is slowly fading out of many video games.
Sadly, there is even more negatives to come from the game in the form of the game’s audio… or should that be a lack of audio. Repetitive sound effects that fail to meet an acceptable standard are evident throughout the game’s entirety and, on top of that, the title fails to feature any dialogue whatsoever. Whilst this isn’t essentially a problem, it could have lead to a more interesting storyline. Nevertheless, there are positives to be taken from Fairytale Fights, even if they are in the minority in comparison to the negatives. The game contains a unique style consisting of bright colours and storybook like backgrounds that truly represent the fairytale-esque surroundings we are familiar with. The same style is also evident in the game’s characters, giving them a cartoon look to match.
Normally, you would expect a happy ever after though, unfortunately, Fairytale Fights has no fairytale ending. Whilst it is a unique title with some strong ideas amid a distinctive style, the lack of a true storyline, the clumsy combat and repetitiveness of the title fail to make Fairytale Fights a must-buy purchase.